In terms of events from 2020, Totally Under Control chronicles this material with as much captivating suspense as any fictional political thrillers. Archival footage, old emails, and anecdotes from interview subjects help showcase the struggles of health officials trying to sound the alarm of an incoming pandemic. The level of frustration I felt watching this was unspeakably high. I could feel all the agitation from these individuals as they relayed their attempts to speak sense into people who just didn't want to hear about reality. Totally Under Control shows that, long before social distancing became a part of America's vocabulary, there were people trying to take action.
Alas, these measures did not produce actual action. Among those measures were attempts by the head of a company producing facemasks in America. He wanted to get financing to make sure there were enough facemasks for the American public. Unfortunately, the CDC responded to a potential facemask shortage by simply urging Americans not to wear facemasks. It's a bizarre move that reflects how badly the American government responded to this whole crisis. Watching the testimony from this business owner as he sheds tears over not being able to help people, you see the human toll that this bad response has left in its wake. The story of the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, but Totally Under Control still functions as a stirring reflection of the past and a call to arms for us to do better in the future.